Cordes was the son of Fred and Berthe Clarens Cordes. His mom was a native of France. They lived on Elm Street from 1920 forward although Raymond rented an apartment on Amsterdam Avenue by 1940. A graduate of THS class of 1936, he was interested in aviation.
When Cordes enlisted in November, 1940 , he became a Seaman 2d class in the Navy and was assigned to the USS Jacob Jones, a destroyer. He later earned promotion to Radioman 3rd class. The Jones (DD-130) was captained by Hugh Black of Oradell. On February 28, 1942, off Delaware, the ship was torpedoed and sunk by U-578. All but a dozen of the crew perished.Cordes was awarded the Purple Heart. He is listed on the tablets of missing at Battery Park, New York City
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- Raymond Frederick Cordes - Mission: Anti Sub Patrol
Ship: USS Jacob Jones (DD 130)
Loss Date: 28-Feb-42
Location: 38.37N, 74.32W - Grid CA 5458 Off the coast of Delaware
Fate: Sunk by U-578 (Ernst-August Rehwinkel)
Complement: 149 officers and men (138 dead and 11 survivors).
On the morning of 27 Feb, 1942, USS Jacob Jones (DD 130) (LtCdr Hugh D. Black) departed New York alone to patrol and search the area between Barnegat Light and Five Fathoms Bank. She then received orders to concentrate her patrol activity in waters off Cape May and the Delaware Capes. In the afternoon, the destroyer spotted the burning wreckage of the R.P. Resor, which had been torpedoed by U-578 the same day. The destroyer circled the tanker for two hours, searching for survivors before resuming her southward course.
At 10.57 hours on 28 February, USS Jacob Jones was hit by two torpedoes from U-578, while proceeding completely blacked out at 15 knots. The first torpedo struck on the port side just aft of the bridge and ignited the ship´s magazine. The explosion completely destroyed the bridge, the chart room and the officer´s and petty officer´s quarters. As the ship stopped, the second torpedo struck on the port side about 40 feet forward of the fantail and carried away the after part of the ship above the keel plates and shafts and destroyed the after crew´s quarters. The ship remained afloat for 45 minutes, allowing about 30 survivors to abandon ship on four or five rafts. But as the stern sank, the unsecured depth charges exploded, killing several survivors on a nearby raft. Some hours later, an US Army observation plane sighted the life rafts and reported their position to USS PE-56 on Inshore Patrol. The patrol craft was forced to abandon her search after three hours, due to strong winds and rising seas. She had picked up twelve survivors, but one of them died en route to Cape May. The search for survivors continued for two days but was fruitless.